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ances which Jesus made after his resur• rection to various persons, and at various times. The first was to Mary Magdalen alone *. The second, to her in company, with several other women, as we have just seen +. ( The third to Peter f. The fourth, to the two disciples going to Emmaus $. The fifth to the apostles in Jerusalem, when they were assembled with the doors shut on the first day of the week; at which time he shewed them his hands and his feet, pierced with the nails; and did eat before them ||. The sixth, to the apostles a second time, as they sat at meat, when he satisfied the doubts of the incredulous Thomas, by making him thrust his hand into his side [. *
The seventh, to Peter and several of his disciples at the lake of Tiberias, when he also ate with them.*. The eighth, and last, was to above five hundred brethren at once+. There are then no less than eight distinct appearances of our Lord to his disciples after his resurrection, recorded by the sacred historians. And can we believe that all those different persons could be deceived in these appearances of one, whose countenance, figure, voice, and manner they had for so long a time been perfectly well acquainted with ; and who now, not merely presented himself to their view transiently and silently, but ate and drank and conversed with them, and suffered them to touch and examine him thoroughly, that they might be convinced by all their senses that it was truly their beloved Master, and not a spirit that conversed with them. In all this surely it is impossible that there could be any delusion or imposition. Was it then a tale invented by the disciples to impose upon - others ? * John, xxi. 1. + 1 Cor. xv. 6.
disciples * Mark, xvi. 9. + Matt. xxviii. 9. † 1 Cor. xv. 5. § Luke, xxiv. 13.
| John, xx. 19. Luke, xxiv. 37–43. * John, xx. 26.
others? Why they should do this it is not
easy to conceive ; because it would have been an imposition, not only on others, but
on themselves. It would have been an attempt to persuade themselves, that their
Master was risen, when he really was not;
from whence no possible benefit could arise to them, but, on the contrary, grief,
disappointment, and mortification in the
extreme. But besides this, the narratives themselves of this great event bear upon
the very face of them the strongest marks
of reality and truth. They describe, in
so natural a manner, the various emotions of the disciples on their first hearing of our Lord's resurrection, that no one who is acquainted with the genuine workings of the human mind, can possibly suspect any thing like fraud in the case. When the women were first told by the angels
that Christ was risen, and were ordered to tell the disciples, they departed quickly
from the sepulchre with fear and great joy"; with joy at the unexpected good - 116 WS news they had just heard; and with fear, not only from the sight of the angel, but lest the glad tidings he had told them should not prove true. They therefore “trembled, and were amazed, and ran to bring the disciples word; neither said they any thing to any man, for they were afraid *.” And when they told these things to the apostles, their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not +. When Jesus himself appeared to the apostles at Jerusalem, they were terrified and affrighted, and thought they had seen a spirit; and they believed not for joy, and wondered When he appeared again unto the eleven as they sat at meat, they were so incredulous that he upbraided them with their unbelief Ś, and Thomas would not be convinced without thrusting his hand into his side ||. This certainly was not the behaviour of men who were fabricating an artful story, to impose upon the * Mark, xvi. 8. + Luke, xxiv. 11. it Luke, xxiv. 37–41. § Mark, xvi. 14. | John, xx. 27. - - * * A A 2
* Matt. xxviii. 8.
the world, but of men who were themselves astonished, and overpowered with an event which they did not in the least expect, and which it was with the utmost difficulty they could be brought to believe. ' The account therefore of the resurrection given by the evangelists, may safely be relied upon as true. It may however be said, that this account is the representation of friends, of those who were interested in asserting the reality of a resurrection; but that there is probably another story told by the opposite party, by the Jews and the Romans, which may set the matter in a very different point of view; and that before we can judge fairly of the question, we must hear what these have to say upon it as well as the evangelists. This is certainly very proper and reasonable. There is, we acknowledge, another account given by the Jews respecting the resurrection of Christ: and to show the perfect fairness and impartiality of the sacred historians, and how little they wish to shrink from